Not Fade Away Band Submitted photo


Over the years, I’ve covered a fair amount of tribute acts and although the Not Fade Away Band isn’t a Grateful Dead tribute, the five members of this seacoast New Hampshire group formed out of a mutual fondness for the music created by that legendary jam band. A few years back, I chatted with Gregory Thom when his group came to Somerset Abbey for a show in July of 2020, so when I saw a listing for a performance by Grateful Floyd on Sept. 9 of this year, I contacted Stacy O’Brien of that venue and discovered that the contact for that band was none other than Thom (which in hindsight was kind of obvious). When contacted, Thom was more than happy to renew our conversation. I called him at home in Brentwood, New Hampshire, and began by saying:

Q: I am really intrigued by this melding together of two bands that, on the surface, couldn’t be more unlike: The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd. Can you explain this to me?
Thom: Well, for us, we’ve always wanted to bring something new to just representing Grateful Dead music; and when you think about the Grateful Dead, they were one of the greatest cover bands to ever exist. Yes, they had brilliant original material with great lyrics and melodies and improvisational jams, but they also brought new life to old songs — from the blues, country and rock—and they did them in their own way and brought that into the mix. So we thought, “Hey, deadheads like other music that we also enjoy—why don’t we bring those artists into the mix and do it in a creative way where you can kind of mash-up Dead songs with other varied artists.”

Q: I think I see where this is going.
Thom: Grateful Floyd is one of our premiere events, meaning that oftentimes we’ll do mixed mash-ups—we bring various artists in with Dead music, and we kind of surprise the audience. But we have a couple of premiere mash-ups that Not Fade Away Band will perform.

Q: Like what?
Thom: Dead Zeppelin, so it’s Not Fade Away Band plays Led Zeppelin, and the other one is Grateful Floyd. This is going to be the second time we’ve done the Grateful Floyd show, so this isn’t something we do all the time. We thought it was a good fit for Somerset Abbey. It’s a good mix that could draw people with different interests and maybe get a little bit of that cross-reaction, too. Some of the Floyd lovers will hear some Dead songs and go, “Oh, that’s cool!” and some of the deadheads will hear the Floyd songs and be more intrigued about the show. And, of course, there are going to be those folks who love both bands.

Q: Do you do the jam thing with the Floyd stuff?
Thom: We don’t recreate it per the record if that’s what you’re asking. We do introduce some of the improvisational jams within the Floyd material and, in fact, what we will do is transition from a Dead song into a Floyd song back into the same Dead song. In our first performance of Grateful Floyd, we took sections of various songs and played them throughout the night as a theme.


Q: Oh, cool! Now, how do you go about picking what you perform from the Pink Floyd catalog?
Thom: I will take suggestions from the other band members and then I spend time kind of crafting a set list with that flow in mind. Trying to play a set with very few pauses in the music so there’s always something happening, trying to establish that flow from song to song and things that fit well. So if you think about tempo or feel or sometimes a dramatic difference, it could be just the key that has a dramatic tempo change; that’s okay, too, but we spend a lot of time on the transitions and how those fit together. And that’s how we put the set lists together: as a puzzle.

Q: Now you’ve created Grateful Dead and Dead Zeppelin, are there any other bands that you’re thinking of mashing up with?
Thom: (Chuckle) Yes, indeed — the next one that we’re considering doing would be called Let It Be Dead, a high-energy, psychedelic blend of the Beatles’ songs performed in our own way. And it’s interesting to note that the Grateful Dead were big Beatles fans back in the day — that’s why they took up electric instruments.

Q: Well then, that would be kind of like a full-circle mash-up, wouldn’t it? Are you thinking of other possibilities?
Thom: I’ll share one more idea with you, this one’s a little farther out, and it’s called Who’s Dead.

Q: (Laughter) Yes! Oh, man, the possibilities are endless! I can foresee many columns in the future with you coming up and doing some of these mash-ups.
Thom: Absolutely, and it’s so much fun because it keeps us really engaged. We’re on a musical journey, we’re doing this for the love of the music, so bringing in those different elements keeps us on our toes. We have a lot of repeat folks who travel to see us and come to a lot of our shows, so we like to give them something new and always change the set list for them, and these different premiere events are a way for us to do that.

Q: Without giving anything about the Somerset Abbey show, could you share a sample of this Floyd/Dead mash-up?
Thom: Well, we have two songs that are in the time signature of seven — “Estimated Prophet” is a Dead song that’s in that unique time signature, and “Money” is a Pink Floyd song that’s in that same time signature — so we find a way to bring these together without skipping a beat, so to speak. I think that’s a good example.

Q: Honestly Greg, this is not your average mash-up, this is intricate, thoughtful, challenging and very intriguing, to boot … oh, and also highly entertaining!
Thom: And we have a lot of fun with it.

Q: I can see how this would invigorate your band and your audiences, as well.
Thom: Absolutely … we hope so.

Q: Well, with that thought in mind, is there anything you would like to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Thom: If you could, I would love for you to pass on our Facebook site — — and check out our upcoming event calendar. In addition to Madison, we have a festival that we do every year in North Berwick called “Chill Fest” and there’s overnight camping…we have four great bands and the Not Fade Away Band will be headlining that.

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.